THE GROUND-BREAKING ceremony in Newport city yesterday marked a key day in the redevelopment and regeneration of the heart of the city.

While of course work has now been going on for some time on the site of the new Friars Walk development, the ceremony was a symbolic, official starting of the real construction work.

And as such marked an important step forward.

As the council leader Bob Bright himself says there have been many false dawns in Newport over the past decades. The scepticism heard in the past few years has perhaps been understandable.

So this ceremony, which marks the start of the transformation from demolition site to shopping centre is a real visible sign that change is coming.

The £90m shopping development has already secured many big retail and restaurant names, and with more to be announced in coming weeks, things are looking up.

As we have said before, this year will be pivotal for Newport.

The redevelopment of the city centre is just one part in a jigsaw which includes the recently-revealed plans to transform several current city centre buildings into apartments.

These plans, coupled with the work going on under the ReNewport banner means there is, however slowly, however steadily, a real buzz beginning to build about the future of the city.

Residents and visitors will start to see real change taking place over the next 18 months and we are really looking forward to that.